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Plan to ease Woodward parking woes
90-space lot to take pressure off neighborhood streets
The city will spend $270,000 collected in park fees on new growth to erect a picnic shelter at Woodward Park during the fiscal year starting July 1. - photo by HIME ROMERO
A NorCal soccer tournament featuring more than 100 teams earlier this year flooded the neighborhoods around Woodward Park with cars.

It got so bad that several residents told of how people would knock of their doors and ask if they could pay to park in their driveway.

Others just simply blocked driveways.  That is after the city allowed people to park on the grassy area on the southeast corner of the storm retention basin where Bridewell Avenue intersects with Heartland Drive.

Some solutions are in the works to avoid a repeat of the parking problem.

Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin is exploring the possibility of restricting the size of tournaments at Woodward Park. The 52-acre community park has gained tremendous popularity throughout the region as it has eight soccer fields - including lighted fields- in a central location with soil that drains wells.

The city will then work with local soccer organizations to try and put a cap on tournament sizes.

Mayor Willie Weatherford has suggested allowing parking along Woodward Avenue. The mayor estimated that could pick up close to a hundred parking spaces.

It wasn’t clear whether he meant both sides but he noted parking could be restricted to just weekends.

Meanwhile, the proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 that is going before the City Council has funding to install a 90-space parking lot on the corner of Bridewell and Heartland at a cost of $594,000.

The city also has $270,000 budgeted to build a picnic shelter at Woodward Park.

Both the parking lot and picnic shelter are part of the original Woodward Park master plan. Each would be paid for from funds paid by new development for park facilities.

McLaughlin noted the picnic shelter has the potential to generate a steady flow of municipal income. The existing group picnic shelters at Lincoln and Northgate parks are heavily used. Just like Woodward, those two parks are considered community and not neighborhood parks.